Best Plays of 2010: Near Disaster Averted vs. Watch the Pretty Pattern

Today's matchup in the Best Plays of 2010 Bracket makes you choose between an excellent play to win a game against inferior competition and an excellent play in a loss against a major rival. Which will it be?

Near Disaster Averted -- Matt Simms's overtime TD pass to Denarius Moore against UAB

After three games, Tennessee's season wasn't progressing as fans had hoped, but it was mostly playing out as expected. The Vols had blown out UT-Martin and hung with both Oregon and Florida for awhile before running out of gas. UAB presented what we'd hoped would be a bit of a reprieve. You know, more like UT-Martin, less like the Ducks and the Gators.

Instead, we learned it wasn't really about the competition -- it was about us. Tennessee went into halftime up comfortably 23-7, but then couldn't score after the break, all while UAB got two touchdowns and double extra points on both of them, sending the game to overtime. Both teams hit field goals in the first extra period, and UAB went first in the second and hit another field goal.

So this time the second half collapse had come against one of the worst teams in the FBS, and the Vols were in very real danger of experiencing the first real expectation-shattering loss of the season. Fortunately, this happened instead:

 

The team put Moore on their shoulders and carried him around like they'd won the national championship on that play. Why? I talk about this in the upcoming MSP annual, but the short version is that I thought the team, especially the senior class, had endured its share of disasters over the prior several years, and the act of finally staring one down and triumphing over it was, in fact, something to celebrated.

Watch the Pretty Pattern -- Matt Simms's 49-yard TD pass to Denarius Moore against Florida

Despite running into a second-half buzzsaw against Oregon, Tennessee actually looked quite surprisingly good early in the season. Fifty points, even against an FCS opponent, is still 50 points, and running all over the Ducks for a good portion of the game felt great.

And on the Third Saturday of September, everyone thought that Florida was still Florida, so when the Vols trailed only 7-3 against the Gators at halftime, it was great news. Florida hit another field goal early in the third, but then Simms and Moore hooked up again and tied the game:

Great play, great execution. Unfortunately, Florida scored three more TDs to the Vols' one, and the second half continued to be a problem for the Big Orange.

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